A man once asked Yeshua what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. That is a question asked today by those who recognize the longing in their souls. Yeshua’s answer was a little different than what you will hear in most churches… Should give us something to chew on!
Here is how Luke records the exchange,
25 And a [a]lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? [b]How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
To start with, this immediately throws a wrench in the cogs of those who think the importance of the Torah is somehow diminished after Yeshua! Further, notice Yeshua isn’t the One who encapsulates the commands into these two ‘laws,’ both direct quotes from the Torah. Common knowledge of the day understood that the Torah was about loving God and loving neighbor.
Notice also superscript ‘a.’ Yeshua is not talking to someone who just fell off the turnip truck! This is an ‘expert in the Mosaic Law.’ The Torah.
Christendom generally blows right past this passage because they are in such a hurry to get to the ‘Good Samaritan’ story and see this lawyer’s heart exposed.
The point, though, is that Yeshua throws a monster spotlight on the importance of obedience to the Torah in respect to eternal life.
Now, don’t misunderstand me and think I am advocating for ‘works salvation.’ I believe we enter the covenant by grace through the blood of Messiah, but once in the covenant, we have a responsibility to love our Suzerain by showing loyalty/obedience. Over and over, Yeshua elevates the Torah! After all, He being the Lawgiver, desires that the Torah be great and glorious.
Yahweh was pleased for His righteousness’ sake
To make the Torah great and glorious.
When Yeshua says, ‘Do this and you shall live,’ He is answering the question about obtaining eternal life with a quote from the Torah!! Leviticus 18:4-5 says,
You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, [a]to live in accord with them; I am the Lord your God. 5 So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord.
No, we can’t keep them perfectly, but, they are THE model for how we are to walk! They are called ‘righteousness’ for a reason!! Those who teach that we don’t need to keep the commandments, or worse, those who teach that keeping the commandments is opposed to faith, stand utterly exposed as false teachers by this little missive of Yeshua.
Yeshua basically says, “Keeping the commandments, and not just the Ten, but ‘all the Law and the Prophets,’ is the path to eternal life!!” If you read beyond those verses He demonstrates that the heart is critical in how we do so, but He never negates or even hints at the Torah being insignificant in the equation. Rather, He highlights it!!
Chew on that for a while…